If you are passing through Lawrence, there is one place you have to go: Massachusetts Street. From 6th Street to 12th Street, Massachusetts Street is the absolute ultimate in downtown Lawrence. Whenever I have friends visiting me, I always make sure to take a few hours to walk them up and down the strip, from the restaurants to the coffee shops to the stores, it is absolutely everything that is wonderful about our small town in Kansas.
Massachusetts Street above all, beautiful. The tree-lined street is scenic and perfect for a slow stroll, with plenty of local art and historic landmarks to see along the way. Built for the pedestrian, traffic is slow but parking is always available. There are crosswalks at every intersection and even in the middle of streets. Traffic always stops for a person crossing, something unique to Lawrence (I've nearly been run over countless times walking in Chicago, even while waiting for the crosswalk light to change).
As you are walking, there are plenty of shops to stop in along the way. If you are the crunchy granola type, there is Third Planet full of hemp clothing and opinionated bumper stickers for the ardent liberal. For the fashionista, there is Envy, affordable clothing for the trend setter. For the foodie (like myself) you have to stop at Au Marche', a specialty store that specializes in European cuisine (I recommend picking up some of their duck liver pate. With a glass of white wine, it will blow your mind).
If you're feeling peckish, Massachusetts Street has unlimited options. There is Teller's, award-winning Italian dining in a renovated bank that has some of the best fine dining in Lawrence. If you want to experience amazing Kansas barbecue, make sure to go to Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse. For a true college hangout, stop by Jefferson's for great burgers and oysters (I suggest the oysters for an appetizer and following it up with one of their big juicy burgers to finish it off). Also be sure to decorate a dollar bill to put on Jefferson's wall.
Like any college town, Massachusetts Street also has its selection of bars. One of my favorites is the Jazzhaus, an upstairs bar where William S. Burroughs was known to have a few drinks. There is also the Replay, voted one of the best college bars in the country. Replay is a little rowdy but with a huge outdoor patio where smokers can enjoy their cigarettes and their drinks, as well as an indoor stage that offers amazing bands, you'll have a memorable night for sure. And then there is Brothers, a bar frequented by college students who enjoy a beer and the sports on the television.
Whether you're eating, drinking, shopping, or just hoping for a nice stroll, you must take a walk down Massachusetts Street when you're in Lawrence, Kansas.
Total Travel Time: 15 minutes
Total Travel Distance: 6 miles
Soundtrack: "Get Born" JET